No Talks in Illinois Power Plant Strike
LCG, July 9, 2001--A strike by union workers at 12 coal-fired Midwest Generation power plants that generate a quarter of the power used in Illinois headed into a second week with no sign of direct talks between the two sides.Management and supervisory personnel continued to operate the plants, which consist of seven baseload stations and five peaking plants. Together, they produce about 9,300 megawatts of power.Bill Starr, president of Local 15 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers which represents 1,150 workers at the plants, said Midwest Generation had refused to bargain in good faith. He claimed that a federal mediator wanted to sit down with both parties in the dispute.But a spokeswoman for Midwest Generation said no such meetings were planned. She said the company believes "things have to cool down on the picket lines" before negotiations can begin and has tried to get the union to limit the number of pickets at the plants.The company said it had offered an across-the-board pay increase, but the union demanded changes in work rules that would "compromise the company's ability to operate and maintain its facilities."Starr said the offer of a pay increase was inadequate and noted that union employees had been working since April 1 without a contract.Midwest Generation, a subsidiary of Edison Mission Energy and a sister company of Southern California Edison Co., bought the 12 plants from Commonwealth Edison Co. in December 1999, and sells their power back to the Chicago utility.
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